IIID Conversation with Maxwell Roberts, 2 February 2023, 15:00 UTC

We’re marking the 90 year anniversary of the London Underground network diagram with a talk by Maxwell Roberts, who is the pre-eminent expert on the diagram and author of several books on it.

Why Henry Beck’s 1933 London tube map design was such a resounding success

It’s exactly 90 years since the launch of Henry Beck’s 1933 London Underground network diagram, which has become an iconic example of information design . We’re marking this with a talk by Maxwell Roberts who is the pre-eminent expert on the diagram and author of several books on it.

Max says: “It was a remarkable work of elegant compromise, effortlessly balancing conflicting priorities and presenting passengers with a design that simplified reality in a useful way. In this talk I will highlight these priorities and consider recent findings in usability testing that show the importance of attending to them.”

Maxwell Roberts lectures in psychology at the University of Essex, UK, with BSc and PhD degrees from the University of Nottingham. His research interests have included reasoning and intelligence, but now focus on information design and, in particular, schematic maps, creating challenging designs and testing their usability and aesthetics. He has authored four books and several academic papers on this topic and co-chairs the Schematic Mapping Workshop. His personal web page is www.tubemapcentral.com.

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IIID Conversation with Rodrigo Ramírez (Chile), 12 January 2023, 14:00 UTC

Rodrigo Ramírez will talk about “Visual Tools: Information design as a way to manage crises and emergencies.”

Visual Tools: Information design as a way to manage crises and emergencies.

Rodrigo Ramírez specialises in information design for emergencies, including the immediate needs in an emergency as well as the communication and management of risk. He will discuss the Guemil icons project, with testing through participatory workshops in communities.

Rodrigo Ramirez

Rodrigo is Associate Professor at the School of Design, UC Chile (Diseño UC). He is also a researcher at the Chilean National Research Center for Integrated Disaster Management, CIGIDEN. He was design leader for the Guemil Icons project, an open source set of symbols for crises and emergencies (guemil.info). Rodrigo has an MA Information Design from Reading University, UK. His interests are typography and information design, crossing both practice and research. He has collaborated in information and type design research and designed for brands, public organizations, and publications.

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Conversation with Rupesh Vyas, 1 December 2022 at 1500 UTC

Public participation is crucial in the present-day context of increasing complex scenario of data-driven approaches in various domains. I will discuss the challenges and exploration of information design approaches …

Eliciting public participation through information design

Public participation is crucial in the present-day context of increasingly complex scenarios of data-driven approaches in various domains. I will discuss the challenges and exploration of information design approaches through case examples from my teaching and practice-based design research projects at Aalto University.

Case examples: Information design for Elections, Air Quality, Health, Public transport.

Rupesh Vyas is an associate professor at Aalto University, responsible for the information design focus area within the Visual Communication Design major. He is also leading the practice-based Design research projects in information design at the Department of Art and Media.

Rupesh teaches information design courses and is engaged in collaborative design research with many public sector organizations in Finland. He led the collaborative project with city of Helsinki to create an interactive visualisation of Air Quality data for eliciting public participation. He is the driving force behind the collaborative design research projects with FINNGEN for creating future tools of visualizing genetic data for scientific discoveries.

Rupesh is also involved in organizing the Visualizing Knowledge conference, the biennial conference held at Aalto University, focused on various topics of Information Design and Data Visualization, where student work, as well as ongoing research is presented along with talks by international experts.

Previously, he was a senior faculty at the National Institute of Design, India, responsible for developing and teaching information and interaction design research and education. He has contributed significantly to some of the major projects with national importance in India, which includes the Design for Census of India 2011, Design of Population Register, Design of Multipurpose National Identity Card and unifying Information and visual design standards for Driver’s License.

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IIID Conversations

As the name suggests, they are conversations as much as talks. The speakers make short presentations of their work or ideas, then the conversation will open out to include everyone.

IIID Conversations is a series of informal events. As the name suggests, they are conversations as much as talks. The speakers make short presentations of their work or ideas, then interview them and the conversation will open out to include everyone.

In 2021 we consulted our members on what they would like to see. Their answer was ‘community’ – most wanted to feel more connected to others in their profession, to gain insight about practice, and to gain new knowledge about the various different types of work information designers do.

IIID Conversations is free for IIID members, and €5 for non-members.

Coming up:


1 December at 1500 UTC

Rupesh Vyas Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland


5 January 2023 at 1500 UTC

Rodrigo Ramírez, Information Designer, Associate Professor at School of Design, UC Chile (Diseño UC).


Previous Conversations:

Carlos Rosa, IADE – Faculty of Design, Technology and Communication, Lisbon, Portugal: Moving Pictograms

Will Stahl-Timmins, Data Graphics Designer at The Britisch Medical Journal: A picture of health: Visualising medical information for doctors.

Rob Waller (Simplification Centre, UK), discussing the Information Design Summer School – how it works, who comes and how it links theory and practice through critiquing and practical projects.

Oliver Tomlinson (TDL Creative, UK). Oliver uses information design and visualisation in the construction industry, and will talk about the contribution information graphics makes to successful bid documents.

Alex Tyers (Transmission Design, Australia). Alex’s practice includes financial information, medicines information, forms and other complex information.

Conversation with Carlos Rosa, 3 November 2022 at 1500 UTC

The introduction of motion is an important contribution to facilitate the interpretation of pictograms and to enable them to develop in other ways,

Moving Pictograms

The introduction of motion is an important contribution to facilitate the interpretation of pictograms and to enable them to develop in other ways, for example, to encourage civic behaviour, enhance the content of a message and to create emotional ties.

Carlos Rosa, with colleague Maria Diaz, won an IIID Award in 2020 for their fascinating work on moving pictograms. For years we’ve assumed pictograms are static, but digital channels allow them to move. The introduction of motion makes pictograms easier to interpret, and also encourages compliance with their message, and creates emotional ties. Carlos will present this project, and data that demonstrates significant improvements in comprehension.

Carlos Rosa is an independent designer, researcher, and design professor. He is Director of IADE, the largest and most reputed creative school in Portugal. His research project explores the knowledge in the exercise of design applied to universal communication systems. He has received a Portuguese Design Award, and he was described as “Design Icon” by Computer Arts magazine. Carlos writes and illustrates regularly for Portuguese newspapers. He is father of Simão and Joana, has written a book and has also planted a tree!
Carlos Rosa Design

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Conversation with Will Stahl-Timmins, 6 October 2022 at 1500 UTC

At the BMJ we use infographics and data visualisations to convey the information we publish to busy health professionals in an efficient and engaging way.

A picture of health: Visualising medical information for doctors

At The BMJ (British Medical Journal) we use infographics and data visualisations to convey the information we publish to busy health professionals in an efficient and engaging way. In my talk I’ll introduce the kinds of graphics we make, including full page “visual summaries”, interactive graphics, and visual abstracts.

Grid of 16 colourful Infographics, none of them are readable in detail.

Registration link to be updated shortly

Will Stahl-Timmins is Data Graphics Designer at The BMJ. His background is in graphic design. He holds a PhD in the use of information graphics in health technology assessment from Exeter Medical School. Outside work, he spends a lot of time playing with his daughter (currently age 2), cooking, gardening, and playing board games with anyone who he can get to the table.

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Conversation with Alex Tyers, 3 May 2022 at 1300 UTC

Information design for financial communications

The next in our series of IIID Conversations is with Alex Tyers of Transmission Design, one of Australia’s leading information designers. With over 20 years experience of every variety of information design, he is an expert in instructional design, forms, customer communications and plain language.

During this session I will be talking about information design for financial communications. Most people I talk to express surprise that a bank statement, form or insurance letter is even designed at all, maybe because they are often so bad. However, I can confirm that – yes – financial communication design is a thing. I will be discussing how financial comms can be improved, and what can hold this back. I will be showing examples from projects I have worked on for financial organisations and highlighting some of the things I have learned. I look forward to chatting to you soon.

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Alex Tyers is one of Australia’s leading information designers. With over 20 years experience of every variety of information design, he is an expert in instructional design, forms, customer communications and plain language.

Transmission Design

Conversation with Oliver Tomlinson, 26 April 2022 at 1300 UTC

The hidden graphics

Oliver will reflect on his experience of creating diagrams for large corporate bids and tenders. He will discuss how business ‘authors’ work with his team of information designers, creating diagrams to work alongside text in a hidden world of huge commercial contracts.

He will also reflect on the diagrams produced behind the closed doors of businesses, often created by non-designers but a key element in explaining processes, theories, research and initiatives.

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Oliver Tomlinson is the CEO and founder of TDL-Creative, a design consultancy based in London that specialises in information design. TDL-Creative was set up in 2011 and is now recognised as an industry-leading agency in bid design and diagramming, producing designs for some of the largest procurement opportunities in the UK. Oliver works predominantly in Powys, Wales, dividing his time between family, diagramming, design workshops and falconry.